Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Old Grey Ferguson

The Old Grey Ferguson

When I was a young fella-me-lad
I worked down on the farm
They gave me lots of jobs to do
Where I could be no harm
But when nobody was about
And no one to complain
I climbed up on the Ferguson
And rattled off down the lane.

 Oh! Crunch go the gears
  Clatter, bang and groan
  So long as I'm on me Ferguson
  I never curse or moan
  I'm twice as well contented
  As any man alive
  Me and the old grey Ferguson
  A-Rattling down the drive

It's not much good for ploughin'
That suits me to the ground
What could be more tedious
Than drivin' up an' down
I takes the hens their corn
And then I takes the horse his hay,
Then I jumps up on me tractor
And I rattles along me way.
Crunch go the gears...  

The chaps that does the ploughin'
They work so late at nights
But lucky for me the Ferguson
She don't have any lights
So seven o'clock in the mornin'
Is the time of my departures
An' I'm always home in time enough
To listen to The Archers.
Crunch go the gears...

So if perchance you travel
Down some English country road
And find your way's obstructed
By a slowly movin' load
Just sit and watch the scenery
Enjoy the flowers of spring
You can blow your hooter if you like
But I shan't hear a thing
 For crunch go the gears...

A rather silly song made up at a time when I felt that many so called Modern Folk Songs weren't being written for "folks" at all, but for "posh people and hinty-lek-chewalls" as Old Bert would have said. I hope he'd have approved of this little ditty which is a sort of updated version of a semi-real folk song called "Rattling Old Grey Mare" or "The Country Carrier". For those in foreign parts I should perhaps point out that The Archers is a very long-running British radio programme that was billed as "an everyday story of countryfolk".

Take care, tractor boys!


  1. Oh the Ferguson, - we had one when we first started to farm, - the John Deere was the serious tractor, but the Ferguson was wonderful and old and grey and at home among the acres of tomatoes we grew at the time. The childen cut their teeth on it! Love your poem.....

  2. That really made me chuckle, I shall think of it when next I listen to the Archers!

  3. Great little ditty. Reading about folks songs not being for real "folk" made me think of Wade Hemsworth,
    a Canadian folk song writer and singer who died not long ago. He wrote about northern Ontario and is famous for a song about black flies, something all rural Ontarians and Quebecers can identify with.
    He's on Wiki if you want to know more about him.
    Post about tractors appropriate for me right now as we just bought our first little tractor. Very exciting and fun.

  4. That's great! I love those old tractors.

  5. I like the single lamp, just enough to see you are going straight down the rows and to get back to the barn by.

  6. Lovely, we still have an old Fergie that was on it's last legs when we bought it with the farm 21 years ago. It has a new lease of life now that my grandson is looking after the mechanical side and has given it a real spring in it's step again.

  7. It's Cyclops! What a cool old tractor. Love the song too, I was searching in my head for a melody for it...

  8. Larry says he wants that tractor!

  9. I remember those standing around in these parts too. Old agricultural machinery seems to get a kind of patina that is quite exceptional.

  10. Nice ditty about the Ferguson, Early farm equipment has a special meaning for farm folks. Talk to some old timers about their old tractor and see the glimmer come into their eyes. -- barbara

  11. I used to listen to the Archers when I could get the Beeb in the West of France... Cool song, but what's the tune? ;-)

  12. A poem? You are a clever man. Prose is hard enough for most of us!

  13. Hildred: Much the same situation here except that Fordsons and Nuffields were the serious tractors. The old Fergie was used as in the song for all manner of litttle jobs and was the first tractor that youngsters were allowed to drive.
    Jenny: I'd heard that black fly song somewhere a long time ago but Wade Hemsworth is a new name to me. Thanks.
    Sinbad John: Yes, it's the only tractor I've ever seen with one light. The tractor in the picture isn't the one I remember in the song. The one in the photograph was at a country show; when the tractors did a parade around the main enclosure the commentator described it as being in "excellent farmyard condition"!
    Arija: our Fergie was much the same; nobody ever thought to do any maintenance on it but it just kept going.
    Sue and "cieldequimper": I thought the song "The Country Carrier" was well known and would be on YouTube but it isn't. Any jaunty tune would do - it almost fits The Archers theme tune. Incidentally my mother's cousin is Colin Skipp who has played Tony Archer since his character came into the series nearly 50 years ago.
    And to everyone else who has commented a hearty country thankyou. I didn't realise there were so many tractor boys (and girls) out there!

  14. well I thought this song was really well written; I enjoyed seeing the picture in my head from those words John


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